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Archive for August, 2011

God has quite often used my children to teach me things. In fact they are my greatest teachers and I their willing student. My children are simply delightful. And, as they have grown into adults, married and with children of their own, they and their spouses continue to teach and give me those “ah ha” moments when the light goes on and I realize I have just heard from our heavenly Father, through them. Whether they realize what they are doing or not, I am so very thankful for their input as God profoundly speaks to me through their actions and words. Here is one of those moments when I learned what the world needs now…

Teddy is a “golden” child. He is a rare and beautiful son who has now become a man. From birth, he was nicknamed “Mr.” as from the minute he was born, his demeanor has been one of leadership, with the ability to bring peace, truth, gentleness, stability, and honor to every situation. He loves deeply, is full of heart, but also loves the extreme side of life and is a bit of a risk taker. He is liked by everyone, and there within his nature lies an aura which radiates respect and a challenge to be the best you can be. Teddy makes others better by just being around him.

Raising a child like this to me, (and no disrespect intended towards our Lord,) must have been in some ways a little like Mary raising Jesus. They just know better than we do…and they are much younger. It is innate within them and God given. On many occasions Teddy has unknowingly brought choice words of wisdom to a situation. At times he has spoke with such simplicity and directness that it could be missed if I wasn’t listening to more than his words, but also listening to his heart.

One of those “ah ha” moments came close to Christmas, when Teddy was around 7 years old. I had held him out of school for the morning, while we went for his six month cleaning at the dentist. I have always enjoyed my one-on-one time with the kids and this morning was no exception.

Teddy and I were happily chattering as I drove him back to school after his dentist appointment. As we got to the school Teddy reached into my purse to get something out of it. I have no idea what it was that he was looking for, but what he found would be one of the many growing up milestones in his life, (and mine.).

It was a few days before Christmas and the kids were excitedly looking towards Christmas Eve when Santa would bring them all their little hearts had longed for over the past year and their rooms would once again be filled with the latest and greatest toys that Santa could muster. It was a Bakke Family traditional that each year we would sit at the kitchen table and the kids would happily look through the Christmas catalogs searching for pictures of the toys they longed for Santa to bring. As they found each toy, they would cut the picture out and put it in an envelope with their name marked on the outside. I’d watch as the envelopes would quickly fill up. And in keeping within “Santa’s” Christmas budget, out of necessity I would say, “OK guys, that’s probably enough now.” And the catalog shopping was over.

This year was no different and the weekend before Teddy’s dentist appointment we had made the trek downtown to see Santa and give him each child’s envelope of wishes.  After they sat on Santa’s lap and told him they had been good then rattled off one or two items from the envelopes they held in their tight little hands, Santa would graciously take their envelopes and tell them he would try to get them a couple of the things in the envelopes, and that they should continue to be good for their mommy and dad until Christmas.

Unknown to the kids, after they walked away contented that they had been heard and assured of the loot to follow on Christmas morning, my husband would distract the kids while I went back to Santa to get the envelopes so we could remember what each one wanted from “Santa.”

That Monday morning as I parked the car at the school to drop Teddy off after his dentist appointment, his little hand went into my purse and emerged not with what he had been searching for but with the Santa envelopes. I had forgotten to take them out of my purse that weekend, and I immediately felt my heart sink. How was I going to get out of this one…

As Teddy pulled out the envelopes he saw his along with his brother and sister’s Santa envelopes. His face became one of concern, and asked in a very puzzled tone, “mommie, why do you have our Santa envelopes in your purse?” I wanted to make up some story because I knew if I told the truth that would be the end of my little boys Christmas dreams. Santa was a regular tradition, his Grandpa had dressed like Santa every Christmas Eve and had delighted the kids for many years with his belly laughs and Christmas stories. I did not want the magic to disappear. So, in lue of telling my son the truth I decided to work around it. “Oh, I got them from Santa after you kids walked away so dad and I would know what we should get you kids too. You know Dad and I always get you kids a gift or two as well.” Teddy was not letting me off the hook so easily. “But Mommie, if you have the envelopes, how will Santa know what to get us?”

I looked at Teddy’s beautiful face of innocence and we were both silent for what seemed like several minutes, but was in reality only a few seconds. All of a sudden a look came over Teddy’s face, the “Mr.” in him came out, which called for a mature answer. At that moment I knew God was calling me to be truthful with Teddy. Fear had taken over me. Fear that my little boy would grow up, fear that if I told him the truth about Santa, what about the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and more importantly the credibility of God. All of these he had seen through characterizations, pictures, and stories. How would he take the news that Santa was not real? Would this cause him to doubt God as well? Where would this end? I wanted to keep Teddy little as long as I could and ultimately wanted to be sure he knew God was real.

But, a question of this proportion, the strong relationship I had with Teddy, and the evidence from my purse demanded the truth. So I tenderly said, “well Teddy, Mommie and Daddy are really Santa.” Expecting Teddy to be very disappointed and sad, and his little heart to be broken, I waited with a sinking feeling in my stomach for his response. After a second or two Teddy said, slowly “well Mommie, (pause) what about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy?” He had put those together with Santa, just as I suspected. My heart sunk as I said “Yes Teddy, Mommie and Daddy are the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy too.”  At that, he started to cry and I just knew my worst fears had become a reality – his little heart was broken.

There in my car in the school parking lot, Teddy cried for a couple minutes. I attempted to console him and said “Teddy, don’t cry. I am sorry, I know your disappointed.”

Then Teddy said something I will never forget. He looked at me with his eyes full of tears and said Mommie, I’m not disappointed, I just can’t believe that you and Dad would do all of that for us kids.”

I realized at that moment that Teddy was thankful. He was not sad or heart broken, he was crying out of love and respect for his parents and their graciousness. God was bigger than my fear of disappointing Teddy, and Teddy was grounded and stable. His world did not turn upside down because of this new revelation, it was confirmed. Teddy was humbly thankful and in awe.

Within a few minutes Teddy wiped his eyes, kissed me, hopped out of the car and ran into school. He was fine and actually knowing the truth seemed to be refreshing to him. The truth was freeing for us both. His step was light as he skipped away. He never once asked if God was real. That wasn’t even a thought. Which also told me of Teddy’s commitment to God and the relationship he and God had at that young age. God had revealed himself to Teddy’s heart years earlier, and Teddy knew that God was real.

That day it was confirmed to me that what the world needs now is…truth.

 

Dear God,

Help us to be truthful even in the hardest situations, knowing that you have equipped people to handle it, and something brighter and more profound awaits in knowing the truth.

Love, Janie

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I stared at the blank page – where to start with my writing? It was not for lack of subject matter as my mind skipped from one experience to the next of  amazing opportunities I had the benefit of witnessing where God spoke through circumstances and relationships in my life. I knew God had been exposing me to a host of events from early childhood, teaching me truths so I could in turn share them with others. What is the reason he has spoke so many times? To show Himself, His character, His personality, and teach me how to be in relationship with Him and love His people. His method? Teaching through experiences and parables, learning to embrace all – trials and times of tranquility.

God has consistently revealed his character and qualities so as to invite me into a deeper relationship. Why does God choose to speak through experiences? Because, as visual, sensory driven individuals, these experiences are used to seal truths into our head and brand them on our heart. And, while He has communicated these truths to my heart, passion has become the overwhelming outcome. Passion about being coached, and mentored by a loving God. Passion for His creation, passion for adventure and His people, and passion for a deeper relationship with Him.

Many years ago I began journaling. It was a way to keep focused during my “alone time” with God.  Each day I would pray, read my bible, and write a “love” letter to God in my little journal. I began every new journal entry with…”Dear God.”

Early on my journaling mostly consisted of “discussing” life’s challenges, which usually involved a lot of whining, (obviously on my part.) In my “love” letters I would tell the Lord everything that was troubling me. And there were many…As a young wife and mother at times I felt the weight of the world was on my last nerve.  Although I was blessed with a wonderful husband, he worked long hours trying to provide for our family and we still struggled to make ends meet, so the stress of money issues was a constant battle. We had 3 young, adorable children all just a year in age between them. The kids were well behaved and excellent playmates, but taking care of them was more than a full time job. Also, during those years I had severe back trouble as a result of an injury that occurred during the birth of our first child. At age 27, these  issues along with the emotional “baggage” I brought into the marriage from a very unsettling childhood, were all topics of discussion during my “time alone” with God. They were captured in print through my “Dear God” journal entries.

My journaling became my release, and I found that as I wrote my attitude changed, I felt better. And each time at the alter of my “alone time,” I came to know God more as He showed Himself to be concerned with all that troubled me. Not only was he concerned but He understood. In those quiet times my complaints to God were comforted by the Holy Spirits’ unique way of understanding right were I was, and by the time they ended I was praising God and thanking him. (You know it is really true that a heart of thankfulness has room for little regrets.)

Just as each journal entry “love” letter began with “Dear God”, so did each closing line read “I love you. Love, Janie,” as love was always the end result and Gods answer to every situation. His parting words to my heart regularly were “I understand, now go and love.”

During our daily time alone, God revealed himself as the compassionate, understanding, and commissioning, God he is. He never failed to comfort and encourage me. Soon my whining sessions turned into times I could not wait to be alone with Him, as I knew I would leave our sacred time together refreshed with a new perspective.

It is now through my writing that I intend to impart to you, as best I can, the goodness, wisdom, insight, peace, commitment, healing, and love Jesus Christ offers us. I feel privileged to share these experiences through the journey in the journals, mountains and valleys, He has brought me through since my commitment to him so may years ago.

It is my prayer that the experiences, thoughts, ideas, and revelations in these pages touch you as they have me. My hope and trust is that God will use this recounting of my experiences in your life to groom, coach, and mentor you, to show how real and profound He is, to show his providence in “coincidences”, and to reveal a life with Him that is exciting, new every minute, and something to be sought after and fully engaged in. These are His stories, not mine. I am just doing what He has told me to do, which is “Never stop telling what I have done for you!”.

Dear God,

Your will be done in the words of this “journal.”

I love you.

Love, Janie

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